Tens of thousands of years ago, two great troll empires appeared: the Amani and the Gurubashi. The Amani were forest trolls and the Gurubashi were jungle trolls; "Amani" and "Gurubashi" were the names of the two largest and most powerful troll tribes, which is why the empires received their names. These early empires eventually clashed with the nascent night elves. Drawing arcane magic from the Well of Eternity, the night elves shocked the trolls by handing them a rapid and resounding defeat. The night elves pushed the trolls out of some of their lands and were then able to establish the night elf empire.
One tribe of trolls in these ancient days was the Zandalar tribe — the progenitor tribe from which all other trolls arose. Most Zandalari were scholarly and valued knowledge; however, a significant portion desired conquest instead. These disaffected trolls eventually left the Zandalari to found other tribes. The remaining Zandalari, then, were all of the scholarly and mystical bent. As time went on, other trolls came to regard them as an overarching priest caste for all trolls. The Zandalari preserved troll history, and they worked to further the goals of troll society as a whole.
Though they had the respect and admiration of all other trolls, the Zandalari did not attempt to exert any power over them. The averaged (and still average) 8 feet in height: significantly larger than all other trolls save the savage Drakkari of the far north. Despite their greater size and knowledge and the respect they commanded, the Zandalari did not wield sovereignty over the other trolls, nor did they seek such authority.
When the Sundering came, the wise Zandalari trolls wove swift magics to protect their realm. The land around their territory shuddered; waves crashed in and trees and soil sank beneath the waves. Through it all, the Zandalari's land remained largely intact.
After the Sundering, the Zandalari discovered that their territory was now an island. Seeing no reason to leave it, they set about rebuilding their settlements and continuing their studies.
Eventually the Zandalari noticed that their Gurubashi brethren on the mainland were growing rapidly in power and territory, attributing their victories to the influence of the god Hakkar. At first, the Zandalari were glad for the fellow trolls. However, as Zul'Gurub continued to expand, the Zandalari's pleased surprised turned to disquiet. They consulted myths and delved into historical accounts. What they learned horrified them.
Hakkar was also known as the "Soulflayer," a name he had richly earned. He filled his adherents with murderous rage and reveled in their dark emotions. The carnage that invariably followed Hakkar suited him perfectly, for having consumed blood he had developed a taste for it. Worse, he became more powerful as he consumed the blood shed in his name, and his tie to the world that was feeding him grew stronger.
Every Zandalari who could fight immediately set out for Stranglethorn Vale and brought the terrible tidings to the jungle trolls. The Gurubashi empire was already in a state of civil unrest due to the numerous sacrifices that Hakkar was demanding. With the Zandalar tribe's news, the jungle trolls banded together with the Zandalar tribe and rose up in open revolt against the bloodthirsty Soulflayer. (More information on Hakkar and the civil war appears above, in "The Atal'ai and Hakkari" section.)
Zandalar has long been the heart of all troll culture throughout the world. Zandalari are their own separate sort of troll — not jungle trolls, not forest trolls, not ice or dark or sand. (However, several groups of other trolls live on Zandalar, including jungle trolls beneath the canopy and ice trolls on snowy Mount Mugamba.) The Zandalari's overall goal remains what it always has been: to maintain troll history and continue their research. They also again oppose Hakkar.
As I described above (under "the Atal'ai and Hakkari"), these are dark times for Azeroth. A group of evil troll priests has summoned the bloodthirsty god Hakkar into the world. Physically — he's here. The Zandalari are again his enemies, though they don't have the numbers to attack his priests directly. Instead, they recruit adventurers of all stripes to strike at Hakkar and the trolls who follow him.
Every 6 years, Zandalar also plays host to a meeting of all troll tribes. Trolls from all over the world meet in the great ziggurat-city of Zuldazar to discuss matters of importance to all trolls. Zandalar is neutral ground for trolls. Though many tribes don't get along with each other, they all meet on peaceful terms in Zandalar.
It's true. Though many trolls might seem like bloodthirsty savages, a larger, more unifying force is at work.
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